in the book. Even though I already knew something about these lodgings, in each case I learned not only a lot more of the history of their origins, about their high times and low times, about their renovations and challenges, but also and importantly about the external factors that turned them into microcosms of what was going on in the world beyond their walls—in the parks themselves, in the region, and in the countries and societies in which they are located. Each of these chapters contains explanations and examples of how the facilities needed to change as visitors changed --with different means of transportation (horse and railroad to the automobile, for instance), with different expectations of what a park sojourn could and should include, and with different (and sometimes competing) views about what national parks themselves, and these two in particular, should be. One learns, for example, about the direct effect of the building of roads and their locations on these hotels and chalets, of the two World Wars and the depression, of the hands-on involvement and then withdrawal of the Great Northern Railway from the management of these facilities and the parks, and of the toll taken by winter weather, floods, and fires on them. These chapters that focus on these lodgings that I know personally provide both a depth and breadth of historical information that will make them even more fascinating to me the next time I experience them as a visitor. I am certain that this will be the case for other readers who know these lodges and chalets personally as well.
styles, their early forms, their renovations and expansions over the years, the reasons some of the lodgings still exist and flourish and the reasons why some are only ghosts today—one can learn a lot from these individual chapters. One can learn, for instance, how the unique architectural style of these facilities overall (“parkitecture,” as some have called it) came to be: a combination of Swiss-Alpine chalet styles, Adirondack cabin and lodge styles, and Craftsman style, all with unique Rocky Mountain touches and materials. One can learn in the chapters on those facilities that no longer exist –Two Medicine Chalets, Cut Bank Chalets, St.Mary Chalets, and Going-tothe-Sun Chalets – what their brief histories were all about and just why they fell victim to waning interest, weather damage, roads, closures caused by the Great Depression, competition, or the Second World War, as well as about some of the important and colorful characters who came and went with them.
hus: over the course of this highly instructive and thoroughly enjoyable book, one learns a great deal about these parks and their histories in general as well. It is a book that contains great substance and excellent historical writing, a book from which pretty much anyone with any level of knowledge about the parks will be able to learn many new things. It is also a wonderful “coffee table” book, a book that invites casual browsing of many kinds of compelling visual images. It would make a wonderful gift to anyone who has stayed in any of these lodges or chalets, anyone who As I read the chapters one after another, my underhas visited the parks once or many times, or to anystanding of how the park developed and changed one who plans to visit them or just imagines what it over the past 100-plus years also grew cumulatively. would be like to do so. I just made a couple of resAnd when I began to read the chapters about the ervations for the lodges myself and can hardly wait lodgings that no longer exist, this for differing reasons to walk through their doors, smell the wood smoke in each case that are well told, I was primed and bet- from the lobbies, and enter places that are magical ter prepared to imagine even those marvelous hotels in themselves and serve as launching pads for many and lodgings that are now ghosts of a colorful past. other magical places in these two spectacular parks. Thanks to the two authors for making this special book and all the information it contains available to If one is interested in the buildings themselves, their us all.